Artist Spotlight: Ludovic / Ikimashoo Aoi / L’Homme Manete

 

We caught up with Ludovic Pereira, a Portuguese with French descent, the person behind several projects with releases on Enough Records such as Ikimashoo Aoi and L’Homme Manete. Also an active DJ, event organizer and label curator. We wanted to find out how he’s been handling his obsession with music.

Ludovic

Hi Ludovic, thanks for agreeing to answering a few questions for us. First up big congrats on the success of the con+ainer label, i hear you been co-managing it for the last few years and it’s been having great success with it’s releases and plenty of gigs, care to share with us some details and drop some links for our readers?

My pleasure to collaborate with Enough Records again!

Yes, Con+ainer is an ongoing project with some friends from Germany which has been receiving some major feedback, especially in the Portuguese media. It’s a border crossing label, as we like to call it, not only because the management is both in Germany and Portugal but also because we have no strings attached to any genre, so it’s not a “Techno” label or a “House Music” label, but a label that exports the music that we like from the people we admire to the listeners who share our attitude.

We had some great showcase opportunities in the last year, but probably the most special ones were the Nightshifts at Casa da Música (thank you Rui Trintaeum) and Europa Sunrise (thank you Nuno Branco).

After 2 years its great to see our family of artists growing up and getting pretty successful: Trikk, Miguel Torga, Voxels, Joney and others are getting their names written on the big players book and we think it’s only a matter of time before the others join them.

You can check us out through the following links:
www.containermusic.com
www.soundcloud.com/container-music
www.facebook.com/containermusic

Are you able to make a living out of music alone?

Overall most of my monthly budget comes from live performances, not from producing, and I find it hard to conceive making money out of selling music in a time where people willingly upload their tracks and make them available for everyone to listen to whenever and wherever they want.

All musicians nowadays actually use this as a public portfolio – is it surprising that digital-platform based musicians can’t actually live out of their own sold music when they are offering full previews to everyone out there? Not considering the fact that most people are not DJs, have some public wifi hotspot nearby, a smartphone and a pair of headphones ready to enjoy some random songs? I don’t believe access to music should only be permitted after paying for it – youtube, soundcloud, mixcloud and all that are truly golden gifts of the age of internet, even with all their consequences. Access to music is even more democratic than it was 15 years ago, and in a way I think it’s because of all this webmocracy that there’s no crisis in music like there is in other art forms.

At the same time this is not one of those subjects that I effusively ponder on, asking myself if I will I ever get a break in this life. Making noise and melodies is something I’ve been doing for over 10 years now and above everything else I find it to be very therapeutic. Being emotionally excited about something besides music is extremely hard for me, but sitting at my desktop and creating a sound or just playing some melodies always does the trick. Capitalizing on my music and on others music is a secondary objective, but obviously as a label owner I do my best so that the artists that work with me get a chance to get a revenue from their own art.

You originally released on Enough Records under Ikimashoo Aoi as a more indie laidback approach to sound. I know you also used to have a post-rock band project before then, how did you go from these kind of sounds into the more electronic sounds that you do today?

The fascination with virtuosos was my big pet-peeve on the rock/metal culture and I went from enjoying solos to absolutely hating them. Popular discussions back then were about who’s the best guitar player in the world based on how many notes they could shit from their double necked guitars, how many synthesizers Jordan Rudess could control with his goatee on stage, or how awesome a triple bass drum player was compared to a single one. There was this glorification of execution rather than composition – if you were able to play a cover on drums, guitar or bass you were in, but composing was really something secondary for most people. I remember putting out the “Dois” EP and getting a lot of comments from people saying that “It doesn’t count because the drums were sequenced”. This was the turning point for me – I felt more and more disconnected with a culture that didn’t acknowledged digital musicians as real musicians and had fanatical arguments based on stereotypes.

Then there’s the showmanship factor in all that, which is also something present on the DJ culture but not so much on the solo electronic artist circle. Many actually prefer to have all lights off and some video projection thing going on. I prefer to be hidden behind a wall of cables or some white emitting light monitors than holding a guitar performing eye to eye with someone.

But ultimately I went from full prog-rocker to electronic music thanks to synthesizers. I am totally obsessed with synths nowadays, particularly with modular bleeps and blops, old gritty hardware, arpeggio sequences and slow glides, and I’m totally into tracks that are purely synth based, which is curious considering nowadays most of my music is based on sample-mangling to extremes.

I’m still very polyvalent regarding music. I’ve been putting out a lot of dancefloor oriented stuff but it’s not the only thing I do. I have some ambient and downtempo tracks coming out soon aswell, so I hope I can clear the picture for most people that think I went full rave-head!

You also have another edition on Enough under your side project L’Homme Manete, exploring 8bit sounds. Is it still active or have you been focusing more on the con+ainer style techno sounds?

Well, I have a terrible memory but I remember “closing” some projects a while back and absorbing them into my real name music. I’m focusing my Techno productions as Umbra (with Lukkas), my House stuff as Cloche and all the rest comes out as Ludovic tracks. I had a lot of music scattered by a lot of projects but all my friends were telling me it would be a good idea to just use my name for everything. I don’t do pure 8bit sounds anymore but hey, all that music I made in the past is still an influence and those silly melodies I did are very much diluted in the music I make today.

8bit / chiptune scene was never very big in Portugal, there are some new folks producing it though (i’m talking about Azureflux for example who recently released a mini album on Enough), do you think there is any chance to have some successful events in Portugal focused around 8bit music? You used to curate Catita! netlabel who was focused entirely on 8bit, that’s why i’m asking you.

I actually think Portuguese people are very open minded when it comes to music, but you have to put things into perspective: there are 10 million brains living in Portugal, and 80 million in Germany for comparison. Even there, the people that enjoy electronic music are part of a minority. Can you picture how few we are here in Portugal and how many truly enjoy chiptunes nowadays? A chiptune event would have chances to be successful if the event was on a modest scale.

On the other hand, chiptune or 8bit music and its communities were already taken to the extreme some years ago and some people nowadays can’t take it seriously (not that it was ever made to be taken seriously). The genre really lived too much from its accessories: the original gameboy thing, littlesoundDJ which was the tracker everybody wanted to have, the 4×4 kinda-hardcore kick and the pressing play and jumping on stage thing.

From the perspective I had on communities, the genre was filled with pre-teen and teen scene kids that had their obvious heroes and wanted to mimic them – something perfectly normal, but the problems started when this whole group overshadowed the other, more groundbreaking group (which counted with artists such as The Depreciation Guild, goto80, Phlogiston, Stu, Seal Of Quality and collectives like Drop Da Bomb). All of a sudden, every chiptune song sounded like the same ravey shit, and the melodic artists or the groundbreaking genre-crossing bands were put aside, but they were actually the engine of it all, while the rest was just colored plate.

By the way, Azureflux is seriously talented. I can tell from some of the programming and from having listened to quite some chiptunes in my time (old-school memes). Calculator Jam is maybe the epitome of nerdness in Portugal. Thumbs up, man.

You seem to DJ a lot aswell, don’t you sometimes miss having more time to sit down and produce?

These long periods of being away from the studio, working in Porto (my studio is in Braga) or playing music around are actually very beneficial. Back in the day I had these obsessive periods where I would wake up early and spend the day making noise, not realizing this actually drains inspiration and gets you tired really quickly. I wouldn’t even leave the house for maybe days and I thought that doing so would do nothing to my lack of inspiration.

Now I prefer to be in Porto working on the field for long periods (on my daytime job that is also related to music) and go back to the studio when I feel that I’m itching all over from not making music. I learned that having too much of the things you like it’s far from beneficial. I miss making music everyday and I get sudden urges at the most inappropriate times of the day (yeah, joke away) but it’s all worth it the moment I turn on my studio monitors back in my place.

Looking back at your whole dealing with netaudio, and how the music sharing community evolved, do you think it still makes sense to run netlabels and release under them? 6 years ago there there seemed to be more of a sharing gap on the internet then there is nowdays with (bandcamp, soundcloud and the whole social networks thing).

I kind of replied to this in the second question but maybe I should close this interview with a more motivational tone. I think good netlabels that distribute great music are very important, even if there is a group of people that illegally download music and make it “free” anyway, or if most commercial labels “accept” uploads on youtube and soundcloud. Not only does it creates a discussion about the value of music, but it also serves as a counter-weight in the jigsaw that is the fight between free internet and the internet that the corporations want to create and mold.

We have come a long way since the first netlabels to nowadays discussion with main-speakers Trent Reznor and Thom Yorke – musicians like this and other big bands talking about free music might sound like anarchic mambo-jambo when its voiced by people who have their own mega studios and are themselves skilled technicians, but this is actually pushing another revolution to the forefront: the democratization of creation is being constantly marketed nowadays, with home studio solutions, DAW’s for every need, purpose and wallet, high quality digital instruments which most of them are free, and the knowledge itself being shared online in forums, books under CC licenses and youtube tutorials. I embrace this behavior and this revolutionary stance because it takes back something from the elite that should not be reserved to only a few: individual expression and the distribution and sharing of art. If the means to make music now go from cheap to free, why not keep netlabels and other channels of distribution free as well? Some people can argue that the internet now has more means and ways for musicians to go indie. While that’s true, not all musicians are comfortable with promoting their own art, and netlabels are here to fill that gap when most of them are operated by people who are truly dedicated to the promotion of great music. Radiohead might not need a netlabel, because all eyes are already on them thanks to the work of the labels they used to work with, but back in the days I needed someone to get my music as Ikimashoo Aoi to the email address of the right people.

Filed under Artist Spotlight, Interviews.
 

Artist Spotlight: Line Noise

 

Next on our spotlight interview series we got back in touch with Rudy Gonzalez aka Line Noise, to ask him a few questions.

linenoise

Hi Rudy, can you tell us a little more about you? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?

Hi Filipe, I was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil and emigrated to the US at a young age of about 10 years of age or so. I currently live in Miami, Florida, and have been living down here in Sunny South Florida for most of my life.

I work in the realm of Web Development, and Web Design with a focus on E-commerce. I work with a lot of open source code, and in the the customizations of such systems as wordpress, Zencart, Magento, Opencart, Drupal. I also do some freelancing web work on the side.

How did you get involved producing music?

I first began producing music myself at the turn of the year 2000. Prior to this, I had always been involved with music most of my life in having played drums and bass guitar for multiple bands in the genres of Brazilian Reggae, punk rock, and funk.

My first tracks ever produced were actually in Fruityloops (now known as FL-Studio), and Buzz Tracker. I also always enjoyed collaborating with other producers, instrumentalists, and vocalists. I have also worked on at least 10+ remixes in the past from artists in the genres of R&B, House, and downtempo.

In the following years from 2000 to about 2010 I produced a variety of styles in the range of Breaks, Drum and bass, Downtempo, Glitch, and house.


Your one and only release with us was back in 2005, that’s 9 year ago, what have you been doing since then?

From 2005 to now, I’ve produced a few tracks in the range of jazzy/atmospheric downtempo to upbeat funky rhythmic genres.

An album which has included both of these genre realms is “Fresh Mindstates” which was released on CDBaby, and is available on systems like iTunes, Amazon, or streamable on Spotify.

Any new releases you are particularly proud of?

The album that I would currently be the most proud of would be “Stellar Collection” which was just released in 2013. This release which is basically a conglomeration of 35+ previously released tracks on some netlabels, and other unreleased tracks which I had in my production vaults. I decided to just combine a few tracks together from different
albums together, and to release them all in one release. Some of the genres in this release include: downtempo/chillout, breaks, glitch, and drum and bass.

For the past two years though, I’ve taken a step back as a producer and have been more involved just with the art of listening, and pondering on the production tool possibilities that can be used to produce certain sound textures and progressions. There is just so much great music sprouting up out there – It is quite inspirational. I believe that we have now entered into a type of Electronic music production renaissance, which I believe to be a direct effect of both readily available powerful music apps, VSTs, and good sample collections which are available to just about any aspiring producer out there with a decent Desktop PC, laptop, or even just an iPhone / iPad.

What’s your current setup?

My Laptop and USB/MIDI devices related gear includes an Intel 2.0 Duo core I7 laptop, with a mini novation launchpad, M-audio X-sessions pro DJ controller, and Keystation 49e midi controller, and MPD24 drum Pad control.

In the digital domain I am utilizing FL Studio, Sound Forge, Ableton Live, Deckadance, and loads of VST plugins.

For hardware gear I have a Roland JP-8080 synthesizer module, and Digitech 2112 Guitar effects processor.

In the LIVE instruments realm I have a 5 piece pearl drum kit, with DW double bass pedal, LP bongos. I also have a 5 string bass guitar.

And how does it differ when you play live?

I try to just stick with more digital portable devices when playing live or DJing, just because it is easier to setup the type of gear that is more micro and portable. It can also be seen nowadays that most producers and DJs in general are leaning towards this micro/portable technology as well with touch screen devices used as controllers, and micro sized midi controllers as well.

Lately I’ve been DJing a lot more than playing out my original music, but I still mix in some of my original music into the DJ set at times. I recently got together with some old music partners from back in the day, and we have initiated an Internet radio broadcast called “Them Unknown Radio” – Broadcasting every Saturday from 2 – 4pm on timezone
EST-US @ universemiami.com – It is a broadcast dedicated to new cutting edge electronic genres from Trap to liquid dubstep. We also feature new rotating guest producers and performers on a weekly basis.

I remember you also ran a netlabel called Lacedmilk Tech, is it still active?

Yes. It is still alive; however, has been a bit inactive lately since our last release was approximately one year ago, which reminds me it is about time to align some new releases shortly. My inactiveness in promoting my netlabel lacedmilk is often due to a lack of time in having to place my promotional efforts in other music ventures.

How has the netaudio scene changed on this past decade? I mean in the number and quality of demos submitted. And also in what platforms do you focus the announcement of new releases?

I believe the netaudio scene has changed enormously in the past decade due mainly to new music web systems having become the defacto standard in virtual platforms for new emergent music. Some of these systems as we all know of include Soundcloud, Mixcloud, and Beatport just to name a few.

Not to say that netaudio is not a current relevant source of great emergent music, but that these third party systems have become very powerful players in emergent music. I attribute this to their incoming sources of revenues from their premium services and high degrees of investor funding, which in turn allows them to leverage and use such funding to hire teams of web specialists who can then build their systems to becoming these high traffic portals of new music.

I myself, utilize CDBaby for current releases, where the PRO ALBUM service provides a third part album relay service which will automatically spread one’s release to systems like iTunes, Amazon, etc automatically, register one into BMI or Ascap, and collect royalties for the producer or artist as well. Other systems I utilize as well include, Mixcloud, Last.FM, Beatport. In the social media realm Facebook, Instagram.

Spotify is another interesting powerhouse of a music system that seems to have become the defacto standard by widespread acceptance worldwide, and has become my preferred choice for daily music listening rituals as well. I would say that 75% of music that I’ve searched for is available on this system. The other 25% I usually then have to turn to other sources to acquire the music I am seeking.

Do you feel artists these days are more inclined to just run a soundcloud and bandcamp profile instead of submitting their release to a netlabel?

Yes I do, for several reasons. The first reason is that they can get the instant gratification of uploading and having their album up on the web right away on these systems, and the second reason is that they can bypass the demo submissions process entirely which is required with a netlabel, and they can then have full control of their release online as well for promotional purposes.

My take on this subject of netlabels is that there must be a re-invention of the netlabel in ways which it is able to gain the outreach and popularities of these other third party music systems. In other words, to match up their web technologies, and marketing leverage aspects, so the netlabel could become a bigger player in the virtual music realm.

What can you tell us of the Florida electronic scene?

I think the Florida electronic scene exists mainly in the South Florida area, where there is more of a concentration in musical activity as compared to the other parts of Florida. There are a few good scaterred producers around other parts of Florida but the scene itself is prevalent in the South Florida area.

Miami’s electronic music scene is definitely decent, and Floridians can’t complain. There are always shows going on, and it seems to be a hotspot where international producers and performers always stop by in their tour schedules to feed Floridians with their sounds.

Our largest electronic music festival which actually put Miami on the map for electronic music has been known as the WMC or Winter Music Conference which occurs near the end of March. During this time, we have a lot of international and local talent that blesses us with their new cutting edge sounds every year. Of course, The Ultra music festival is usually the talk of the town for many; however, in my opinion the best talents usually appear more in the smaller events during the Winter music festival.

Thanks for your time, i’m out of questions. Anything else you’d like to add? :)

Here are a few related links that I would like to include:

Producer Site
http://www.linenoise.us

Line Noise FB Page
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Line-Noise/149729681765222

Themunknown Radio
http://www.universemiami.com/them-unknown-radio

Themunknown Radio FB Page
http://www.facebook.com/themunknownradio

Filed under Artist Spotlight, Interviews.
 

Artist Spotlight: GOTO80

 

Next on our artist spotlight series we caught up with Anders Carlsson from Sweden, more known as GOTO80 on the music scene. He shares our background from the demoscene, with releases dating back as far as 1993. He’s not only a musician but also a research historian of sorts on all things textmode and 8bit. In 2008 we put out a music disk of his ownership on Enough Records, titled Open Funk Sores, featuring animation graphics by Raquel Meyers. Was originally released not only as .mp3 but also under the oldschool original .mod format and it’s own homebrew interface built for the Playstation Portable, later also ported to HTML5, Android and iOS.


Hi Anders, how you doing? Was my description of you somehow accurate?

Yes, I think that covers most of it. Could also add that I’ve been getting more involved in art projects the past years, but mostly with making music anyway.

Are you a musician full-time nowdays? Have you been able to make a living out of it?

I did make a living from mostly music for about two years, but it was pretty exhausting and sort of sucked the fun out of it for me. It’s not for everyone. Having said that, I think it’s super interesting to think about music economy these days when almost everyone is complaining about the current situation.

What’s your current setup for producing new music?

I often start with recording a live jam that I do on the C64, edit it, and add stuff with Renoise. It’s a pretty nice way of working, since you get to combine improvisation & this oldschool super-detailed tracking style. Works pretty well for me, and I’ve done songs like this for a couple of releases now. When I don’t do it like that I also combine Renoise+Ableton Live and also do things only on Amiga or C64. I’ve been getting back to the Amiga actually, and my next album on Data Airlines will contain some of that. It’s very inspired by early Protracker music, but with a modern & weird twist.

How does it differ from your live setup? Please tell us about your experience playing live.

My standard setup has been basically laptop+C64 for many years, but I’m trying to take the laptop out of it. I’m kind of bored with it. It’s a bit complicated to find the mix between pleasing the crowd with lots of pre-made material, and pleasing yourself with lots of improvisation. I’ve made many performances where I just start the C64 right in front of the audience and make a jam from scratch. Totally improvised, with not even instruments prepared. See for example:

But obviously that requires the right setting. For more clubby settings, I’ve tried with a full backtrack recorded on Minidisc, and then jam/sing on top of it. Kind of works alright, but… yeah… Minidisc is not the ultimate solution, believe it or not.

I know you have a big obsession with all forms of textmode, not just the more traditional ascii and ansi infofile culture but also C64 PETSCII, teletext, old printer art, etc. Can you tell us a little more of where that fascination comes from and how you been using it with your artistic work?

Growing up, I was fed with text mode graphics in games, BBSs, demos and stuff. I also ran my own BBS and made some Amiga ASCII art attempts. Then I’ve used it occassionally in demos and art projects, but it wasn’t until the past years that I really got into it. 2SLEEP1 was the first release of this wave, where me & Raquel Meyers started to explore the potential of text mode for live performance. Just like with tracker music software (which is often in text mode), text mode software is not really designed for it. Nevertheless, there’s tons of unexplored potential for e.g VJ:ing with text characters instead of pixels. We couldn’t really find any coders who were interested in this though.

PETSCII was the next step, and we did experiments with the old Letter Noperator software, mixing it together with the screen of the C64-tracker (which can also be seen in 2SLEEP1). The idea here was to really make the music interface come together with the graphics. The story melts together with the tools. It was also at this time we started text-mode.tumblr.com to gather images of text graphics in a wide range of disciplines, going back thousands of years to textile & stone carvings and things like that. But yeah, we basically wanted to make a well-curated archive of text graphics, because there wasn’t any.

Teletext is perhaps the most obscure medium we’ve used. After months of searching, we found a way to perform with teletext. Peter Kwan, an old teletext engineer, had made a hardware/software solution to do this. This meant that we didn’t need to have a videomixer anymore, since we could just overlay teletext on any video signal. The only problem was that no beamer supports teletext, so we had to film the screen of the TV… That’s the price you have to pay for using a medium that is nearly unrecordable, despite being data. It’s a broadcast technology and has not really been used by artists and hackers and stuff before. But we managed to do for example Mind the Volcano at Transmediale, and Datagården at Bonniers Konsthall.

But apart from this conceptual interest, we wanted to tell stories with good-looking graphics. We still wanted to make quality stuff, even if the technology in itself might be enough to peak the interest of journalists and curators and stuff. We did a musical together with Uwe Schenk and his jazz band in Stuttgart. Raquel made animated PETSCII-stories to songs that I made and Uwe re-arranged for the band. This was a very exciting project, and I doubt anyone’s ever made anything like that. :)

I think that text mode graphics really has a future. Text mode aesthetics is everywhere, not just on computer screens but in architecture, fashion and design. For example, I could imagine that web design could use more font-based design in the future, since Unicode and the supply of graphical symbols is getting pretty well-established.

You also curate your own label chipflip. Can you tell us a little about the concept behind it?

Chipflip doesn’t necessarily release new music, but music that should be released. I also try to follow the tradition of music disks rather than records. You know, not just release a bunch of MP3s and a JPG “cover image”. And not sell it and put licenses on it. But I haven’t had much time to maintain it, so I suppose it works more as a once-in-a-while thing. There is a very exciting music disk in the pipe though. Hopefully we can get that out this year. Or maybe next… hehe.

How do you feel about the current state of the netaudio scene? Do you think it’s still holding it’s importance in bringing in more listeners to niche music or are new platforms like bandcamp and soundcloud replacing the netlabel curation role?

I have to admit that I don’t follow it very much. I don’t really follow music much at all :) I have a feeling that music isn’t as exciting and important as it used to be, and I don’t seem to be the only one who feels this way. It’s become kind of interchangeable. I think David Bowie said that it’s like water running from the tap. Where there’s running water, there’s also a myriad of music streams. And if you can’t access one of them, you just choose another one. Not such a big deal. Some people say it’s easier than ever to find new music, which is technically true, but practically speaking it’s harder than ever. It’s a spam freedom.

So there’s a re-evaluation of the value of music. And of course that also relates to money. I’ve personally re-considered my previous view that everything should be free, since it makes it really hard for the composers who are trying to do this for a living. The same thing goes for all those “creative” fields, because there’s always some 21-year-old who’s willing to do the work for free because it’s “good promotion”. It’s not exactly a good situation.

I encourage anything that steers music away from the mafia-like music industry that gains the 1% and I’ve got a few experiments in the pipe…

Can you tell us a little about your most recent release?

I released a CD when I went to Russia. It’s called cйbзя tсaя and I do all of the production & distribution myself (with design by Raquel Meyers). That means that you don’t have to support some global music industry to buy it. I’m quite satisfied with the release, and someone told me it’s my best yet. Which is nice. And I don’t mind that it’s not online for everyone to have it. Hell, I even made an album called * that was only available in a wall. :)

Next up is a cassette on Data Airlines which will actually be available on iTunes/Spotify and all that too. I wanted to try it out, since I haven’t done that for a long time. With my text mode fetish I tried to make some very odd file names, but it seems like atleast iTunes don’t support the UTF-8 tricks that I did. Database danger!

I think i’m out of questions. Anything else you’d like to add? Can we hope for a new GOTO80 release on Enough down the line?

That would be nice. Especially with some interactive music disky gamey kind of weirdness. Open Funk Sores ftw, hehe. Next big project for me is to set a world record, actually, but I’ll get back to you guys when I’ve done that…

Filed under Artist Spotlight, Interviews.
 

Artist Spotlight: Dyman

 
Dyman

Dyman

My first meet-up with João Guimarães (also known as Dyman) was in 2007, he was probably 15 years old back then. We arranged to meet up at a FNAC café in downtown Porto for him to give me a demo cd of his instrumental hip hop project DMN Productions. He showed up with his dad. I explained to João the concept of a netlabel and clarified his doubts on copyright issues he was having at the time. Through the years he became involved with other Enough Records artists, like Ezylohm_Tek, started playing live, got his graphic designers studies and became a proficient sound producer of multiple genres.

Now, 7 years later, with several other releases from him on Enough Records, I got back in touch to ask for an interview.

Hello João, thank you for agreeing to do this interview! Can you tell us a little more about yourself? What do you do for a living? Where are you from?

Hello Filipe, thank you for the interview. I’m from Ermesinde city, close to Porto. Right now I’m unemployed. I studied graphic design and had a few jobs, but they were always small contracts, I am currently looking for work outside of Portugal.

Where did your itch to produce music come from?

I got the love for music very early. When I was a kid I was always imagining how my cd’s would be if I had the chance to make them. I started to record my voice over some music cd’s i had, at that time I used an mp3 digital recorder. I imported the recording files and pasted them over the music, the program that I used was called Nero Wave, a very basic program. Then I started looking for other programs, until finding the most intuitive to me.

I know you don’t release only as Dyman. Can you tell us a little more of the other projects you’re involved with?

I was in two metal bands called Dead Phoenix (as singer) and Lendfall (as singer and producer). We have achieved some of our goals but had to end the projects. Now I’m on my own.


Dyman isn’t really focused on just one genre is it? You seem to shift between different styles on every new release. Can you tell us what your path has been so far?

That’s one of my problems making music, I like so many different styles that I can not define a style of my own. But what gives me motivation to do more is trying to discover different worlds, and trying to produce something that i have never done before.

What’s Dyman’s plan for the future?

I will make more electronic music for sure. And try to have more listeners.

You only played live a couple of times as Dyman, do you have any plans for more concerts in the near future? How does your live setup differ from your production setup?

I like to play ambient music live. But in some songs I like having musicians to accompany me. But to be honest, it’s something that I haven’t explored too much but want to master in the future.


A lot has changed in the online music world since the first time we met face to face and you handed me your demo cd in 2007. Does the netlabel model (release free for download) still make sense for starting musicians today?

Sure. If not for Enough I wouldn’t have discovered some styles of music that I know today. We got great artists doing excellent music, but they live on the underground, the radio and TV don´t talk about them.

Actually, how did you find out about Enough Records at the time? I don’t remember anymore. Was it myspace?

Yeah, Myspace. I don’t use myspace now. But it was a great social network for me back then. When i received the message from Enough at the time i couldn’t believe it.

Filed under Artist Spotlight, Interviews.
 

2013 Activity Report

 

Another year in Enough Records’ existance has gone by. You might remember last year’s activity report where we promised to strive for more transparency here at Enough Records. Here is this year’s report.

Releases

2013 was another great year for Enough Records. We put out a total of 27 releases: 21 individual releases, 2 compilations and 4 mixtapes. 8 of the 21 releases were from Portugal, 4 from Finland, 3 from Germany, 2 from Russia and 2 from Spain.

We started off the year with a massive compilation release celebrating public domain day and 100 years of noise art manifesto written by Luigi Russolo. Big thanks to Sergeeo for organizing all that.

Shortly after that we had a massive release by M-PeX & Makrox, blending world music with portuguese guitar, claimed by some folks as the release of the year.


We also released the sequel to AtlanThis, with our friends from Thisco Records, AtlanThis 2 continued to showcase experimental electronics from Portugal and the US on the theme of crossing the atlantic ocean in search of the unknown.

In February we released a split edition of drone and field recording sounds from the owners of Attenuation Circuit label, Emerge and Sustained Development.

We went back to experimental Jazz with the amazing double album release by Janne Nummela – Kosmoskalevala. Floated into post-italodisco ambient with Jari Pitkänen’s release of Anima Ombra. Update our Anonymous Archives sub label with a release about the dangers of thought control, which got us some controversial feedback due to it’s cover.

dSCi lost a drummer and did a live experimental electronics jam session during document freedom day at Auditório Carlos Paredes, which we published.

We debut’ed a new electro-industrial Portuguese project, Agnosept. Pushed out a new EP by cyberpunk goth nerd activist duo kokori.


We released a full album by new German project Th.e n.d, which got amazing feedback. Jari Pitkänen’s prequel to Anima Ombra titled Siam Soul. Chuzausen’s dirty electronica debut with Awesome is Grey. Rolemusic’s return with more 8bit sound in The Pirate And The Dancer. A highly acclaimed debut of Gottfried ist Tot, mixing some folk and triphop sounds.

We also published some new releases from returning artists such as Jared C. Balogh, M-PeX, .crk and [interrupt:Jumper]. And the complete discography by Lemur, a defunct rock band that had released a killer EP at Merzbau netlabel many years ago which we had always loved. Now got together for a one time gig and releasing their complete discography free for download through Enough.

We had the return of Lithuanian Mons Jacet under his alter ego Chtin Mara with some sick electronics. And the debut of two Russian projects, North Hive with his celestial drones, and The Cosmic Setter with his indie pop.

Also worth mentioning were the series of different mixtapes made by ps, Robert Bienert and Amitron_7 for different radios and platforms throughout 2013.

Earnings

We currently have 4 sources of income:

  • Routenote
  • Bandcamp
  • Last.fm
  • Flattr

Routenote

Monthly earnings through Routenote (includes iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, Spotify, Rdio, etc)

Jan 2013 $26.40
Feb 2013 $46.49
Mar 2013 $29.86
Apr 2013 $72.95
May 2013 $43.97
June 2013 $42.66
July 2013 $46.38
Aug 2013 $68.80
Sep 2013 $77.22
Oct 2013 $50.48
Nov 2013 $94.85

Highest earning artists from Routenote were:
1. Jenifer Ávila
2. Aktivehate
3. Control Alt Deus
4. Th.e n.d
5. The Easton Ellises (only listed during first two months)

We started the year with only 12 albums listed (our most recent and popular releases) and ended the year with nearly 200 releases listed. Which explains the steady increase.

Some artists decided to opt out from having their releases on routenote or some of it’s partner distribution platforms. Others prefer to handle those platforms directly. We did have some missunderstandings in this department, some artists were caught off-guard when they spotted their releases on commercial platforms, didn’t realize we were uploading our catalogue to routenote despite it having been announced. It ain’t easy keeping 100+ artists up to date, especially when emails bounce, go unread or old contacts are lost. Hopefully 2014 will be a bit more smooth in this department. We are still and will always be non-profit.

Bandcamp

Bandcamp implemented a tighter restriction to the number of free downloads per month, forcing us to place a minimal sales value on releases.

Year earnings through Bandcamp: €44.00

Top selling artists:
1. No Loli-Gagging
2. Edgeist
3. seetyca

We have something like one quarter of our catalogue on bandcamp and have not been updating it or promoting it regularly. So it’s quite surprising to watch it originated this level of income.

Last.fm

Quarter earnings through Last.FM:
Q1 €2.26
Q2 €1.72
Q3 €1.82

Weekly Top Artists from Last.FM (unconfirmed statistics):
1. Aktivehate
2. Control Alt Deus
3. Art of Empathy
4. Th.e n.d
5. Blablarism

Substantially less then the average of €11.50 from quarters in 2010. Probably from a huge user base drop.

Flattr

Monthly revenue through Flattr micro-donations:

Jan 2013 €0.48
Feb 2013 €0.67
Mar 2013 €0.51
Apr 2013 €3.47
May 2013 €1.00
June 2013 €1.38
July 2013 €2.47
Aug 2013 €0.81
Sep 2013 €0.00
Oct 2013 €0.01
Nov 2013 €0.00

Very small ammounts, not very different from last year’s average. The variation to near 0 of the last months of the year might be explained by the website revamp, which no longer includes a link to Flattr. Need to fix that.

Expenses

Donation to Rui Eduardo Paes (one of Portugal’s most prolific music reviewers who was going through a bad financial phase on December 2012): €250.00

Webserver Hosting: €61.00

Donation to archive.org: $50.00

Comissioned cover artwork: €100.00

Operation cost: Estimated 1 hour a day, donated in kind.

Balance

Didn’t do all the currency conversion math, but we should be in the positive this year. Which means we have to donate or invest some more money soon.

Our options are:
- Donate to non-profits supporting netaudio and creative commons
- Print new flyers / postcards
- Invest in online advertising
- Organize / support new events with Enough Records artists.

If you have any comments on the activity report or ideas on how to use the earnings to maximize exposure for Enough Records releases and artists feel free to email us what’s on your mind.

Filed under Netlabel Reflections.
 

Chtin Mara – Madhouse Blues

 

According to Wikipedia, sounds that disturb people or make it difficult to hear wanted sounds, are noise. I don’t know about the wanted sounds part, but the disturbing bit is definitely true about Chtin Mara’s, which is the alter ego of Enough Records Mons Jacet.

If Aphex Twin were the Jedi Knights, then Chtin Mara surely belongs to the Dark Side. Some would call this electro, others noise, and others still industrial but most of all, “Madhouse Blues” resembles a potpourri of all those genres, accomplished in an interesting fashion, especially because we are constantly kept guessing what will happen next. That feeling of uncertainty along with a state of nervousness dominates the whole listening experience.

I’m pretty sure that if John Carpenter’s grandson were to direct “Escape from LA” circa 2030, the soundtrack would sound something like this. Plus, titles like “Robots with OCD” or “Bipolar Alien Ballad” are more than likely to wake up the dark nerd that lives inside us all.

– Hugo Filipe Lopes

Download release from FMA

Filed under Reviews.
 

Artist Spotlight: First Rebirth

 

Continuing our artist spotlight series we got in touch with Anton Chirtsov, the man behind our release project First Rebirth.

First-Rebirth

Hello Anton, can you tell us a little more about yourself? Where are you from?

Hello Filipe! Talking about myself is the hardest thing for me. I live in Kaliningrad, which is a special region, as it is separated from the main territory of Russia (it’s an enclave) – in fact, it’s in the middle of Europe. The only thing I can say about myself now is that I’m working on a music website and that it is my dream job since I really love music.

How did you get involved producing music?

I always loved music in all its forms from the early childhood (my first favorite bands back then were The Prodigy and Nirvana), and one day (when I was still in school), my friend Denis showed me a computer program called “Dance Machine” from Dance eJay (a simple program for creating music) – and it took from there! Since at that time I didn’t have my own computer, I was visiting him almost every day and was writing something :) After a while, when I got my own computer, I started creating music at home.

Can you tell us a little more about your current music production setup?

Oddly enough, the very first recordings under the name of First Rebirth (I call it demo albums myself) were made in Dance eJay :) Then I decided to move to a new level and started working in FL Studio. Now I come to consider Sonar and Acid as the most convenient sequencers for me. Plus, of course, I use a lot of different VST-plugins.

Your EP release with us back in 2009 “Last Runaway” was quite dark but somewhat mellow and laidback. Is this your usual style or does it differ from your other music releases? Why these kind of sounds?

Actually, I don’t like to put myself into frameworks – there are so many different styles and influences in my music. Everything depends on the mood and on what I want to express. Although I call my style “dark downtempo/trip-hop”, there are such influences as ambient, world music, industrial, idm, etc. – but these are only stamps and labels. The main thing for me is to express what I feel and what’s inside me.

Most producers don’t usually listen to the exact same kind of sounds they produce, what kind of music do you enjoy listening to? Can you drop us some names?

Ohhh, it’s such a broad subject! Music means a lot to me, as a way to express various emotions and states. I think I have favorite artists or at least single tracks in almost every music style: I have a few terabytes of music on my computer plus a huge collection of CDs (I never counted them, but I think there are more than a thousand :)).

Therefore, even if we take the most-loved artists, it will be a list with roughly hundred names ;) So I will try to give you my all-time favorites.

One of my favorite bands are Neurosis (I love dark sludge metal – such as Rabies Caste, Rorcal etc.); Scorn and other projects of Mick Harris are very close to me; the music of Nirvana, as I mentioned before, as the attitude of Kurt Cobain is really close to me; I love ambient in all its forms (from Robert Rich and Raison d’Être to Troum and Anthesteria); of course, trip-hop (Massive Attack are among the most favorite); electronic music in all its diversity (from The Prodigy, Juno Reactor, Amon Tobin and Haujobb to Autechre, Gui Boratto, Current Value and Subheim); different representatives of industrial and post-industrial scene; I love classical music, and especially the modern classical (from Deaf Center and Field Rotation to Jami Sieber and Luciano Cilio); jazz in all its forms – from the classics in the vein of Miles Davis to contemporary performers like The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble; chaotic hardcore, noisecore and mathcore (Converge, Today Is The Day, The Dillinger Escape Plan…); dark folk and neofolk (Tenhi, Sieben, Orplid, In Gowan Ring, etc.); various hip-hop, especially abstract and experimental; unique and experimental metal (from Meshuggah and Mr. Bungle to Manes and Hypno5e); different psychedelic music – from psychedelic rock like The Doors to psychill/psybient like Aes Dana; ritual music is also very close to me (from ritual ambient like Endvra to ritual metal like Dark Buddha Rising); of course, any experimental and unconventional music – and much, much more – in a nutshell, the music should be sincere, deep and genuine.

What’s your favorite platform to discover new music?

I am almost constantly in search of new music, so I use all possible ways, from labels’ catalogs to various reviews, blogs, searching the internet… But at the moment the main sources of discovering new music for me are Last.fm and Rateyourmusic websites.

Why did you choose to release through Enough Records? How did you find out about us? Do you follow netaudio releases carefully?

When I finished my work on the “Last Runaway” EP, I decided that this is the release that I want to make available to others – and I started looking for internet labels (netlabels are another great source of new music for me) – because I am an advocate of free distribution of music. And among many other labels my top choice was Enough Records, because I loved the diversity of the artists on the label (some of them I knew before – for example, Spinefish, Muhmood and _Algol_), as well as the label’s slogan, which is “Free music for free people” – as I already mentioned, it is important to me. I am very grateful to Enough Records for the release – after so much time since its release, tracks from “Last Runaway” still continue to appear on various compilations and podcasts.

Looking back now, was netaudio the best way to showcase yourself to the world? Would you advise new artists starting today to go the same route or has the music world changed into other directions?

Indeed, the situation has changed a bit – some musicians prefer to spread their tracks through services such as Soundcloud. The Bandcamp platform provides a great opportunity for musicians to release their own albums without labels.

But I still think that for a beginner musician, especially for electronic artists, netlabels are the best way, because in this case you have the opportunity to show your music to people who listened to the previous releases from this label – and you get more chances that your music will be found by some music-searchers :)

Have you ever played live? If so, how does your setup differ? If not, why not?

Yes, I have had the experience of live performances although at first I was against the concerts (but then I realized that this is just another way to convey emotions). I prefer to play live using Ableton Live, as well as MIDI-keyboard and a plenty of VST-instruments. In addition, I use a variety of exotic and percussion instruments (didgeridoo, spring drum, rainstick, split drum, shaker, etc.). And from time to time my younger brother Andrey helps me – he plays an instrument called “Jew’s Harp” (“vargan” in Russian – for me he is one of the best performers of it), as well as other percussion.

In the near future I’m planning to buy more hardware equipment for live performances, as well as to replenish my collection of exotic instruments.

I know you have a new album coming up, can you tell us a little more about it? When will it be out? What can we expect to hear in it?

That’s right, after a break I started making music again, and it was a turning point for me once again. I have been making ​​this album for almost 2 years, I have invested a lot of effort, time and emotions in it. The album is diversing in styles and mood – but the main point can be expressed in its title – “Inner Darkness, Outer Light”. The music has become much more complex and deep, it’s a concept album and a listener will “travel” with it from the start to the end. Now the music and the artwork (thanks to my friend Kirill, who also did the cover for “Last Runaway”) are finally ready, and I ‘m looking for a label to release it on physical media – this is my dream that the album would be released on CD. I was hoping to publish it before the end of 2013, but, apparently, it will be out in early 2014.

I still don’t spread tracks to the Internet (because, as I said before, this is a concept release), but you can listen to one of the tracks from the forthcoming album in a live version – thanks to guys from Lost Memories for that:

Thanks for your time. Any last words of wisdom? Is there anything else you’d like to mention to our readers?

Thank you! I want to thank Enough Records as well as all independent labels that continue to distribute and promote decent music. I want to thank all those who believe in me and feel my music. It’s very important to me. Thank you, friends! To all musicians – keep on bringing your music to the world! And to everyone who reads us – listen to your heart and be yourself.

Filed under Artist Spotlight, Interviews.
 

Artist Spotlight: Inperfektion

 

We got in touch with Walter Teixeira, one of the members of Portuguese dark wave project Inperfektion to ask him a few questions about what he's been up to.

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Hi Walter, thanks for agreeing to answer a few questions.

Thanks for the opportunity.

Can you tell us how what is your academic background and how you got involved producing music?

I bought my very first instrument when I was about 9 years old. It was an Yamaha organ with all kinds of weird sounds, but I recall having a lot of fun with it. I started to play some portuguese pop songs, all taken by ear. Since I had no idea what a chord or scale was, you can imagine it was pretty basic but enough for people to recognize the song I was playing. In the same year, an uncle of mine convinced my parents to get me in a music school, and in the same year I joined the Conservatório Regional de Gaia (Gaia Music School). That gave me the possibility to learn music theory, composition, to develop my organ skills, orchestration and, the fun part, to play with other people.

My first official band came up when I was 14 years old and since then I have played in a lot of bands of various genres, from Rock, Metal, Pop and most recently electronic music. I've also played in several live shows which is a great way to learn and develop your musical skills.

Apart from producing music you also been running a production studio for the last couple of years, am i right? Can you tell us more about that? What services do you provide, what genres do you focus on?

Yeah that's correct! I've have always produced my songs and over the years I have been helping some friends producing their songs as well. Today I feel like I have what it takes to extend my work, not only for my friend circle, but to other people that might be interested, so I decided to create Perfekt Chaos. I have been improving some of my recording gear and I'm always learning new techniques to fit peoples demands. The services I usually offer are mixing, mastering and live sound.

I consider myself an open minded person and I love to work with almost every style of music. Due to my background I would say that alternative rock, metal, electro are some of the genres that I feel most comfortable with.

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Can you tell us a little about the history of your project Inperfektion? I believe your first release was around 2007? Then in 2009 we had a few of your EPs released through Enough Records leading to a full album out through Hesperus Records. And now you put out the Monsters EP in 2012, both as free for download and paid physical cd album release. Are you working on new material? What are your plans for the future?

Well actually our first release was in 2005 with a 4 demo song album called Inperfektion.
Before Inperfektion, me and Charlotte used to play on a gothic rock band called Twilight Garden, and in its ending days we were already using some electronic sounds in the songs. After the Twilight Garden era, we decided to explore more and that's how Inperfektion was born.

Since then we have self-released 5 albums, 2 of them as a physical CD. We made all the albums available for download as mp3 and that's where Enough Records came up. Vulture Among Us was released as a physical CD through Hesperus Records, an independent label from Cyprus and our latest work Monsters is available as a digipack through yourlabel.pt. We have some new recorded material but I think we are resting a little bit for now. There are some new directions that we are still exploring and we want to make sure that's the way to go.

Also I have been focusing in my studio project and, until I have it running the way I want, I need to spent some time on it.

Reviews of Inperfektion always seem to mention Diary of Dreams as a comparison band, are they such a strong influence on your sound or is darkwave just so trapped in common sounds?

I'll be totally honest with this one, because these days I doubt there's a band that is 100% original, at least in this genre. We listen to Diary of Dreams a lot and it's one of my favorite Darkwave bands, so I would say they were a big influence when we started Inperfektion. I like music to be human, dynamic, emotive, and not only a computer doing some random harsh arps on a 4/4 beat. I suppose this is due to my musical background. Those are some of the things that I feel when I listen to Diary of Dreams and that I value when I'm producing my own music.

There are some pretty good Darkwave bands out there and I think there are still many dark spots to be highlighted.

What's your production setup for Inperfektion? How does it differ from your live set?

I use some virtual instruments and some sounds that I create on my keyboard. I tend to use a lot of strings and pads to create that emotional background and I always focus on the melodies. Except for the Monsters songs, I used different drum sets. I like to vary a lot on the sounds so that every song has it's own personality. Producing these songs can be challenging since I have to look at each song individually and at the same time remain consistent with the whole.

One of the things we always add, when it comes to playing live, is the guitar. It adds that aggressive and human touch to the songs and performance.

We are planning to add some new components for our future live sets but… we're still working on it. For a start we need gigs and nowadays they are hard to find.

Any plans to play live in the near future or take your project abroad?

We don't have any shows scheduled for now. We are always open to consider any offers so we'll see what's coming.

Thanks for your time! Any last words for our readers?

casino signup online

Thank you. I just want to thank everyone for the support and wish all the best to the artists and labels like Enough Records, who struggle to maintain music alive.

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Filed under Artist Spotlight, Interviews.
 

Artist Spotlight: M-PeX

 

Next on our artist spotlight series we have M-PeX. A project that blends different electronic influences with portuguese guitar.

M-PeX (credits  João Lima)

We originally got in touch with him when looking for artists to participate in our Sound Research compilation, where he collaborated with Dream Metaphor on a track titled “Neural Interface”. Roughly one year after that compilation participation took place, we got to listen to his debut album “Phado”, released through Thisco, which we completely adored. We started stalking him with requests of having a future EP or album released through Enough Records. In 2011 he finally honored us with a release titled “iPhado”!

You must be tired of answering this question by now, but i have to ask it again: how did you end up mixing these two distinct sources of sound, electronics and portuguese guitar? I heard the portuguese guitar was an influence from your grandfather. Is this correct?

Yes, it’s a recurring question, but quite pertinent to understand my journey as a musician and what is behind M-PeX as a project. A lot of people don’t know this story but i actually built my own “guitar” when i was 12! I write “guitar” in quotes because it was just a piece of wood with some screws on the extremities and old strings from a portuguese guitar set across. I connected it to a battery, the vibration of the strings could be heard through some speakers! This first musical construction of mine as a child was related to my grandfather Luís Tomás Pinheiro, him being a wood craftsman by trade, a resident guitar player at a house of fado during the weekends, and also a teacher of the portuguese guitar during weekdays, in the late afternoon after work.

This “childish taste” of mine for building “things” also came into play later on when i studied Physics Engineering at Instituto Superior Técnico (Lisbon, Portugal).

When my grandfather realized my taste for music, he built me a classic guitar. I learned my first chords and started helping him out during his home rehearsals. My grandfather would play the Portuguese Guitar and i would accompany him with the classic guitar he had built for me, in fado we also call this the “Viola de Fado” (Fado’s Viola).

When i was 14 my grandfather bought me my first store-bought classic guitar. Then one day he challenged me to play with him at the house of Fado where he usually performed. It went so well that we ended up playing together for 6 or 7 years, until my grandfather retired from his artistic and wood craftsman work life. He is currently 92 years old and still teaches me some fados and lines of portuguese guitar!

In 1999 – while i was performing with my grandfather in these houses of fado – i discovered about producing electronic music through a neighbor friend, and it’s unending composition possibilities with just a simple computer with software, soundcard and speakers. My friend was composing for a few years already and i was stunned with that whole new universe where anything was possible. So during the following years i explored electronic music.

One day i recorded my grandfather playing and played around with the takes, mixing some electronic beats on the computer. I liked the result very much and kept working on the process until i managed to put together enough originally composed tracks (with my own Portuguese Guitar playing) and managed to gather the conditions to put out my debut album “Phado” (2007) as a self-published cd with the support of Thisco and Fonoteca Municipal de Lisboa. The album contains strong references to the master of the portuguese guitar Carlos Paredes, and also my own grandfather. On the electronic side it had influences from Amon Tobin, Aphex Twin, Sofa Surfers, Massive Attack amongst others!

What’s your current music setup?

Here is my stage tech ryder.

M-PeX - STAGE PLAN

How do you usually build your tracks? You start with the electronics and then try to figure out some guitar lines to fit them? Or the other way around?

The composing sometimes starts on the Portuguese Guitar, other times it starts on the computer, sometimes it even starts on the classic guitar!

I don’t really like following a strict set of rules and methods while composing / producing. I find them to be somewhat limitative to the free flow creative expression. I often indulge in just trying random things. Ofcourse there is always a limitation to the software you’re using, it’s potential and how well you can use it as a production tool.

That being said, often i start with creating the first electronic layers on the computer and then bringing in the guitar. I try to construct melodies or sentences on the guitar – just something which might, in my perspective, fit the electronic layers – and then there is the whole process of recording, selecting the best ones, fitting them in the sequencing, etc. Eventually i get to edit the final sounds / tracks individually, then doing the final mixing and mastering.

You play live quite often, how does your setup vary from the album production?

I started performing live solo: i would play the Portuguese Guitar controlling an effects pedal with my feet and at the same time triggering the electronics out of the computer. In 2011 – following the release of “iPhado” – i felt the need to bring something more into the live performance and decided to invite 2 friends to join me in concert, trying to bring some more dynamic to the stage.

I asked my friend André Coelho (contrabass) and Marco Ramos, from the Makrox project and our joint project DoubleMP, to play effects and synths. During 2 years the M-PeX as a trio has been working quite well live, but actually at this point i feel a certain need for change. I plan to keep the portuguese guitar and contrabass duo and do collaborations with other musicians / producers / electronics dj’s.

You collaborate with Makrox a lot don’t you? I also heard your other project DoubleMP where you also did some work together, also very good sounds. How do all these projects differentiate themselves?

I met Marco Ramos (Makrox) in 2001 when i was asked to integrate a band of essentially electronic music, which included some instruments (electric bass, classic/electric guitar and violin). I collaborated in that project playing electric bass, we played live a few times, put out an EP and also had some tracks out on compilations. Unfortunately the band split up, due to some misunderstandings amongst some of the members. It happens. But I kept working with Marco Ramos and we created the DoubleMP project, which blended Portuguese Guitar, World Music and Violin. The project also suffered some missunderstandings, mostly with the booking agency, and the project ended up being “on hold”, “hybernating”.

M-PeX and Makrox kept collaborating, each focusing more their work. In 2010 Makrox put out “Alternâncias em Fado” album, which i helped produce and was an invited musician of. At the end of 2012 we decided to work together, and so we put out in January 2013 the “Volukta” album (out through Enough Records), under the M-PeX & Makrox name. It mostly includes tracks that were hidden away in the “drawer” of the DoupleMP project, some were started over 10 years ago.

DoubleMP was more about World Music, while M-PeX is more about sound lab experiments, going through different genres, styles and languages of electronic music, always including the portuguese guitar, trying to create unusual ambiences, blending esthetics that should not apparently concile. And also trying to promote, raise awareness and somehow reposition the portuguese guitar, by bringing it to unconventional soundscapes.

One thing that i like about M-PeX is it’s uniqueness in bringing a very traditional portuguese sound to the music being produced today. It’s an excellent postcard of modern portuguese music, has this worked out for you in terms of opening doors to showcase your work you wouldn’t otherwise get?

The feedback from the audience and fans has been very positive! For me it’s very motivating to know there are people out there who like listening to my work and recognize my value, still operating as an independent musician.

I feel that people are growing more “open” and available to hear different soundscapes and unusual ambiences. In this regard, with this “open mindedness” of the audience in general, i feel there has been a growing acceptance of my sounds, which is reflecting on the growing number of proposals i been having to do audiovisual work, licensing, compose original soundtracks, collaborations and also play live, always with the intention to promote the fusion of the traditional with the innovative.

When i accompanied my grandfather on the houses of fado i remember hearing criticism from the singers and musicians – the ones i call fado’s and portuguese guitar “purists” – about the new generation of fado players who would sing barefoot, or include a contrabass and piano in their shows. Things that wouldn’t shock me, i even found it innovating. But this new wave was often criticized… and i didn’t understand why. It seemed as if fado and the portuguese guitar were meant to be a fixed body, unalterable, without room for renovation or change. I would often question myself, but where did fado come from? It didn’t just appear by miracle, dropping from the sky all matured as a genre and then stood unchanged for generations on end… Fado and the portuguese guitar have always been evolving. But each new generation does the same as the one before them, and at the same time it upkeeps, with great commitment, it’s bonds to the past and it’s tradition.

It’s important to recall that not so long ago the portuguese guitar was exclusive to the domain of small taverns and blind street beggars. It was impossible to hear it outside these 2 elements. Then everything changed, the guitar started being heard in rooms of the nobility, and it became rare to meet someone who did not know what a portuguese guitar was, or had never heard some of it’s irresistible melodies.

Any plans for playing outside of Portugal in the future? Where can folks contact you for bookings?

Yes, i have plans to play abroad with the M-PeX project. I’m currently compiling a series of international contacts to present the project to propose live performances! For bookings (in Portugal and abroad) you can just contact me, either through social networks or email. Here are my contacts:

Email: mpex.phado@gmail.com
Soundcloud#1: http://soundcloud.com/mpex
Soundcloud#2: http://soundcloud.com/m-pex-remixer
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/M-PeX/126605314037429
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mpex
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/mpex79

I also have my promo material (bio, fotos, rider) available online in a rar file.

You seem to be very active promoting yourself on social networks on a daily basis, do you find this essential to get your work out there in 2013?

Yes, in my opinion, and through the results i been getting and the statistics i have access to, i think it’s very important and essential that you self-promote your projects, share information, put out news and latest updates on social networks. The feedback and results of this promotion are reflected directly on the other social networks through invites and proposals that often pop up!

Social networks are excellent promotional tools, dynamic systems that enable your information to reach the fans and expand the fan base, in other networks, in other points of the globe, giving the project more exposure! A few years ago we could count with promotion through the radios, television and others… Nowdays it’s another reality and in my perspective it’s essential to use these internet tools.

Apart from producing and performing as M-PeX you also teach others how to play Portuguese guitar and offer mixing and mastering work, is this correct? Can you give us some more information on this?

Yes, here is a list of the services i offer:

  • live shows as M-PeX and as Portuguese Guitar player,
  • composition of original soundtracks,
  • licensing,
  • recording, audio edit, mixing, production, post-production and mastering (bands and other musical projects, advertising, web, multimedia, cinema and tv),
  • sound-design (picture and theatrical performance),
  • Fado’s workshop (about the past, present and future of Fado and Portuguese Guitar),
  • teacher of Portuguese Guitar and Fado’s Guitar (Classic Guitar).

For more information just send me an email.

On top of all this you also do your weekly Puntz! radio broadcast at Radio Zero. Where do you find the time to handle all this?

Yes, i’m also a collaborator of Rádio Zero from Instituto Superior Técnico. Like you said i’m the author of “Puntz!” a program broadcasted every friday from 00h-01h, dedicated to drum’n’bass / jungle. And i’m also (recently) one of the grid managers of the radio.

Time to handle all this… it’s not much indeed. Sometimes i have to neglect spending more time with my closest family and friends to still be able to do all of these things, but it’s been manageable, just a matter of compensating those absences when there are calmer work periods!

You have a new album coming up, to be release on Sunday, 20th of October 2013, right here on Enough Records, free for download just like your previous 3 releases. What can we expect to hear?

You can expect to hear some trip-hop and jazz mixed with portuguese guitar and with special participations of André Coelho (contrabass) and DJ X-Acto.

AndrŽ Coelho (credits Carlos Sil va)
DJ X-Acto (credits Nuno Paias)

Looking forward to pushing out your new release. I remember you used to have some of your albums available at FNAC stores, but they are not available anymore are they? So how can people get a physical copy of your releases if they really want one?

There are still some FNAC stores where you can buy my records, but truthfully the last few months i haven’t been able to distribute my CDs in physical format through them… I still haven’t understood why… But you can always order me directly, just visit my discography:

CD “Phado” (2008): http://thisco.net/catalogo/36.htm
CD “iPhado” (2011): http://enoughrecords.scene.org/?cat=enrmp277
CD “Ignis” (2012)/SOLDOUT: http://enoughrecords.scene.org/?cat=enrmp312
CD “Volukta” (2013): http://enoughrecords.scene.org/?cat=enrmp318

And send me an email to mpex.phado@gmail.com saying what you’re after. You can pay me through bank transfer and the CD(s) will then be sent by post to the requested address. Quite simple and practical!

Thanks for your time! Any last words?

I want to thank you guys from Enough Records for releasing and promoting my work! You’ve been doing a tireless and extraordinary work, without a doubt! I also want to thank all the fans and friends of M-PeX! Being an independent musician i often find it hard to promote my work to the media to it’s fullest potential, and you guys been helping me reach further! THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!

Filed under Artist Spotlight, Interviews.
 

Artist Spotlight: Sick To The Back Teeth

 

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We continue our series of Enough Records artist interviews with the American project Sick To The Back Teeth, active since 2005 releasing under several different other labels such as our friends of Drowning, Smell The Stench, 20kpbs, Clinical Archives, among others.

So who's the person behind Sick To The Back Teeth? Where are you from? What do you do for a living?

My name is Chris M. I live in Brooklyn, NY. I have two jobs right now: I'm a part time butcher and a full time veterinarian. Sometimes I bring in snacks for the dogs.

When did you became interested in music and producing music?

I first got into music when I heard a John Philip Sousa composition played during a Jerry Lewis telethon. I knew from that moment that the music business was all sex, drugs and rock 'n roll and that was going to be the life for me.

On your Enough Records release “Grit” your sound was more dubstep. But judging from your other releases you seem to jump between styles abit, can you tell us a little more about that?

Yeah, Sick To The Back Teeth is a music project with no genre boundaries. I make all kinds of music under that name. I have a huge discography page on my website with links to all the stuff that's been released.

I haven't done much dubstep at all, actually. There were only two releases like that, I think. It was just an experiment for me. I was a big fan of dubstep since almost the beginning but now it isn't the same music anymore. In '07 I released an unofficial mixtape of dubstep mixed with harsh noise called Noise Dubs. Then there was a second volume where I made all the noise myself.

Can you tell us a little about the new york noise scene?

I wish I could tell you more about the NY noise scene, but I was really never a part of it. And I think it's pretty much over. There's some very interesting metal and hip hop happening in NYC right now but that's about it as far as I know.

I was on a lot of noise comps from labels around the internet and I'm happy about that. But from my experience, music scenes and labels that cater to scenes tend to be fairly closed circles.

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I don't really make noise music anymore unless I have a good reason. I'm not interested in recording noise album after noise album. Anyone can do that… There has to be a point. The noise stuff I've done, most of it had a specific idea that I was trying to get across. It gets boring for me to make music if I don't have a point.

There's a video of me performing noise music (and non-noise) I opened for Vaz and some other noise rock bands. Fun show.

Sick To The Back Teeth – Live 07/03/11 from sick to the back teeth on Vimeo.

Why did you decide to release your music as creative commons and netaudio? Had you tried before (or are you trying now) other methods to publish your sounds? Besides just putting them online free for download that is.

I was just trying to get my music heard. It didn't seem to work too well. I would rather have a label release my music on physical media but I don't seem to be popular enough for that to happen.

What are your favorite music discovery platforms at this point? Both as listener and artist.

http://www.wfmu.org/

Do you play live?

I play live about once a year on average. I'm one person and most of my songs would need lots of people to play them, so it's not always practical to do that live. Besides, it's not like there's not a lot of demand. Sick To The Back Teeth is really a studio project, but if it comes up, I'm usually willing to do something live.

What's your current setup?

I use lots of different things to make music with. I build my own instruments, I don't have any guitars that are left stock. Lately I've just been plugging straight into an electronic grapefruit and improvising with that.

So are you also into circuit bending kind of stuff? Can you tell us a little more on one of your pet projects?

Yes, I am into circuit-bending and building stuff. I don't design anything from scratch but I have built some multi-oscillator sound-makers and distortion and things like that… What I use to make noise music is a very basic effects and mixer loop but I've customized all the core effects that I use so that they're unique.

As for circuit-bending, I've done lots of toy keyboards mostly. But I've never done anything too advanced. I just make ugly sounds with them. The things I've seen online like Casper Electronics and Noystoys are really mind-blowing.

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Filed under Artist Spotlight, Interviews.